Intrapersonal and Inter-subjective Challenges of Researching Older and Vulnerable Males Convicted of Sexual Offences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article presents a sequence of reflexive observations based on my experiences as a lone researcher, conducting sensitive qualitative research with vulnerable adult male prisoners who were convicted of sexual offences. The data collection process was imbued with intrapersonal and inter-subjective challenges, including rapport building with participants, negotiating with gatekeepers, care for vulnerable participants and dealing with the emotional dissonance emanating from the management of unsolicited disclosures. The closed nature of the institution, security processes, hierarchical relations and aspects of the prisoner culture increased the complexity of the research process. It is argued that researching vulnerable groups in sensitive locations is replete with ethical and interpersonal tensions. Given that other researchers conducting sensitive research with hard to reach populations may encounter similar issues, this paper aims to capture in detail some of the difficulties and presents the main points of learning from the experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEthics and Social Welfare
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Older prisoners
  • peer care
  • qualitative research
  • ethics
  • ethnography
  • prison research

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